WAIPAHU, Hawai'i - The University of California San Diego women's soccer program will play a Big West Conference schedule in the fall of 2020.
Under Friday night lights at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium against the University of Hawai'i, the Tritons showed they are ready now, winning 2-1.
UC San Diego, currently ranked No. 2 nationally in the NCAA Division II, remained unbeaten at 3-0-1. Hawai'i, a winner of three straight heading in, falls to 3-2.
The match marked the Tritons' first against a Division I opponent, since their only prior meeting with UH, a 3-0 victory in La Jolla over two decades ago on Oct. 19, 1997. They become official Division I and Big West members in July of 2020.
UC San Diego's starting strike tandem of fourth-year seniors and local products Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS) and Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) scored within 2:35 of each other to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage before 20 minutes had elapsed. It was the season's first goal for both, and that lead held up.
"After a tough result Tuesday, the response today was incredible," said UC San Diego coach Kristin Jones, referring to a 1-1 draw at Hawai'i Pacific to begin the O'ahu stay. "You saw a different fire in their eyes, with the need to prove themselves and their worth when it comes to Division I and the Big West. They did that and more.
"There was only one team on the field the first half, and that was us. The second half, Hawai'i had strong moments, and the way we defended as a unit and weathered the storm, won us the game. We were able to gain control back and kill off the game."
Barber added another entry into her list of highlight-reel goals with a lofted blast from a distance upward of 45 yards at 14:41. Her seventh career goal went down as unassisted. She shot right-footed from around the edge of the midfield circle on her offensive half. Barber received the ball with her back to goal, took several touches to steady, turn and face, and seeing that the opposing goalie had strayed off her line, unleashed what for her is a not-so-exceedingly-ambitious attempt. The UH net-minder was unable to get back in time, as Barber's laser sailed under her crossbar.
Moments later at the 17:16 mark, Reilly dispatched the Rainbow Wahine defense and hit the target with her right foot for the 34th goal of her tremendous career. That tally now puts her in a three-way tie for 10th all-time in program history.
Sophomore central midfielder Michelle Baddour (San Diego/University City HS) stole the ball in her own half, turned, looked up, and played a perfectly-weighted, deep pass forward. Reilly ran onto it, took two right-footed touches to gather and cut the final defender, and fired from the top of the box into the bottom left corner, past the goalkeeper who had ventured out toward the edge of the penalty box. The assist was the first of Baddour's college days.
The Rainbow Wahine came out firing after the interval, notching three shots within the first six and a half minutes, including one off the post by Leialoha Medeiros.
Hawai'i ultimately pulled one back at 78:10, as junior Mikaelah Johnson-Griggs' strike from 25 yards out trickled into the bottom right corner for her unassisted first of 2018. That was all, however, that the home side would muster.
UC San Diego goalkeeper Angelica Ramos wound up with four saves. Fellow redshirt junior Alexis Mata, the reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Week, had five stops for UH. The Rainbow Wahine finished with a 17-10 shot advantage.
The Tritons stay unbeaten over their last 21 games (17-0-4) overall going back to last season, and are 6-0-3 over their last nine road contests.
UC San Diego remains in Honolulu, Hawai'i, and will round out a three-match trip against Hawai'i Hilo (0-0-1) in a neutral-site affair at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 9, at 3:30 p.m. PT (12:30 p.m. HT). Hilo is located on the Big Island of Hawai'i, about 250 miles away.
Triton Notes: UC San Diego is 2-0 all-time against UH, the only previous meeting a 3-0 Triton victory in La Jolla back on Oct. 19, 1997 ... The Tritons are now 6-0-1 all-time on O'ahu, outscoring opponents, 15-3 ... UC San Diego has allowed 11 goals during this 21-game unbeaten streak, with one own goal and one penalty kick ... Redshirt sophomore Amanda Erickson made her first appearance of the season as a first-half substitute ... True freshman Marissa Ray was credited with her first collegiate shot attempt in the 71st minute ... True freshman Hana Law made her college debut as a second-half substitute ... Mary Reilly's goal was the 12th game-winner of her career.
W⚽️: You'll want to see senior forwards and #SanDiego products Megumi Barber and Mary Reilly's exceptional goals from Friday's 2-1 win at Hawai'i. 😱🔱 #GoTritons #BangersOnly #HailMary #UCSanDiego #Tritons #RoadToPittsburgh #CCAAws #D2SOC #NCAAD2 @goccaa @NCAADII @BigWestWSOC pic.twitter.com/0ZjDJfkXPF— UCSD Athletics (@UCSDtritons) September 13, 2018